For this chapter, I refer respectfully to Carole Shaefer’s book, Grandmothers Counsel the World. I will attempt to tell some of the story in my own words. Here’s how the council came together, as I understand it. Jeneane Prevatt, (known to her community as Jyoti) director of the Centre for Sacred Studies in California, had a vision. In response to her own prayers, she saw a basket, which was accompanied by a verbal directive. The words were spoken by a holy figure, understood to be ‘Our Lady’. She said:

”I am going to hand you my basket. In it are some of my most precious jewels. They are lines of prayer that go back to the original times. You are not to mix them or change them. You are to protect them and keep them safe. Bring them through the doorway of the millennia and hand them back to me, for I have something I am going to do.”

Guided by this, Jyoti and members of her spiritual circles gradually began to gather the ‘Jewels’, the 13 Grandmothers of indigenous tradition that now form the council. Most of them were already having the same vision, of coming together in alliance. Bernadette Rebienot, Bwiti elder of Gabon, Africa, was the first to be approached. Bwiti is an ecstatic shamanic tradition, that uses the sacred root, Iboga. A true entheogen, Iboga is revered as a master healer, and used in traditional ceremony to transport the participant into a hallucinogenic process of intense and sometimes harsh personal review, which has been compared to an accelerated dose of psychotherapy.  Like other tribal entheogens, it grows in the forest and forests everywhere are under threat from loggers, developers and cattler grazers. Also Western Pharmeceutical companies, who want to patent herbal medicines.

When Grandmother Rita Pitka Blumenstein, from Alaska, became involved in the council, she already had her own part of the prophecy in place, given to her as a child, by her own elders. At the first gathering, she produced 13 sacred stones and 13 eagle feathers and handed them round to the assembled company. The time had come to activate what she already knew. Now the tale is still unfolding, as the Alliance prepares for it’s 8th council, in Japan.

It’s an amazing, compelling story and a true one.

Throughout the ages, the nature and concept of Prophecy, often has this element of something remembered, maybe lying dormant until the proper time. This has even been expressed in the popular imagination through countless folk/fairy tales, and sci-fi movies. Anyone who has had the patience to watch the excellent, 4 series (+ prequels/extras!) HBO remake of Battlestar Gallactica, may have felt a stirring inside. As the sleeper agents wake up to their role in the cosmic drama, they find their actions guided by a curious inner ‘knowing’. I hope I will be forgiven for including the relative crassness of a cult TV show, in the same context as the Grandmothers and their sacred work – but it’s a human theme. And one we can all get excited about, no matter what our entry point. The old, the new, the earth based and the space age may all have a role in the coming times. Jose ‘Arguelles’  ‘Noosphere’ may well be the Internet. Or it may be the Grandmothers. Or it may be the global harmony/telepathy/synchrony, enabled by both. Grandmother Rita Pitka Blumenstein spoke of  seeing of the ‘web’ of the internet, as a child – in the spiderweb motif on a piece of favourite  crockery. Everything we can imagine, can indeed come to pass.

The International Council of 13 Grandmothers (Photo credit Marisol Villanueva)

Concerning age, here’s a quotation from New Earth author/mystic Eckhart Tolle:

”In most ancient cultures, there must have been an intuitive understanding of this process (onset of the spiritual dimension), which is why old people were respected and revered. They were the repositories of wisdom and provided the dimension of depth without which no civilization can survive for long.
In our civilization, which is totally identified with the outer and ignorant of the inner dimension of spirit, the word ‘old’ has mainly negative connotations. It equals useless and so we regard it as almost an insult to refer to someone as old. To avoid the word, we use euphemisms such as elderly and senior.
The First Nation’s “grandmother” is a figure of great dignity. Today’s “granny” is at best cute. Why is old considered useless? Be cause in old age, the emphasis shifts from doing to Being, and our civilization, which is lost in doing, knows nothing of Being.”
(Eckhart Tolle)

To a Western culture that seems to despise both women and the reality of getting old, the Grandmothers are an outpost of wisdom. True rebels and warriors, who seem to be operating from a place of enormous compassion, and humour, as well as gravitas. Their work unashamedly celebrates the female and the feminine, though though they are non-denominational and extraordinarily eclectic, calling on a pantheon of gods, goddesses and spirit energies from their various different languages and cultures. Inspiring for me, is that at least one of them is not a biological ‘Grandmother’, having had no children. Nevertheless, she is seen as a respected authority and elder stateswoman. This is meaningful for me, because I have a ‘knowing’ that I am not and will not be a mother. Teacher, auntie, lover of women, sister to men, creator of music/art, but not babies. And if I were to define my own religion, it would sound something like: I’m loosely radical feminist in spirit, and a loose follower/celebrant of the Goddess in all her manifestations  – yet not organised enough to adhere to something like Wicca and sometimes feel more connected to off-world, ET star energies, than the earth. And at present, I’m firmly based in the center of an urban metropolis – connecting with people is easy, but connecting with the deep silence and immanence of nature – is an ongoing challenge, as far as having an earth- based spiritual practice is concerned. I do what I can. I know that I’m encouraged by inclusive, adaptive, spiritualities, whereby we can tap the divine potential within, for the greater good.

Well, these are my thoughts. I am recovering today from Monday night’s regular 3 hour Aikido marathon. Combined with weekend dumbell workout and running, I’m feeling the afterglow, to put it mildly. As an instrumentalist, I feel the benefit of doing  Zottman curls ( come and talk to me if you’ve heard of a Zottman curl!). These were used by Bruce Lee to specifically build the forewarms and one can find mention and diagrams of them in Bruce Lee’s notebooks, which I’ve been known to refer to from time to time…